For the entirety of the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney has been characterized by flip-flopping on issues like abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, climate change, the so-called Taxpayer Protection pledge, and of course, health care reform. During last week’s debate, Romney took his willingness to say whatever it takes to be elected a step further by consistently playing both sides of the fence.
Either way, the media seems to have let him off scot-free and his unrealistic desire to want his cake and have it too needs to be addressed.
The most obvious example of Mitt Romney’s alternate universe, in which leaders don’t have to make hard decisions, is with health care. Romney says that in his plan, and that word is used lightly, the provision stating that insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions would remain, but the individual mandate would be history.
There’s a slight problem with that. The individual mandate is the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act. Without it, the popular parts of the law, like letting people under the age of twenty-six stay on their parents plan, which Romney also expressed support for, cannot exist. Without the individual mandate, the pool of people with coverage is deprived of roughly 40 million people. Without this increase of the pool, costs would not decrease and subsequently, the other provisions would crumble without it. Not-so ironically, in March 2006, Romney even called the individual mandate “essential” to his Massachusetts law.
Romney also leaves voters curious as to whether or not he would preserve provisions of the law like eliminating the cap that limits how much money will be spent on during a person’s lifetime or the stipulation that eighty-five percent of the cost for a person’s coverage has to go toward direct care.
Romney also boasted that his law in Massachusetts had broad, bipartisan support, while Obama’s did not. This is more of a reflection on the obstructionist Republican party, but more importantly, it is another example of Romney wanting to have his cake and eat it too: his hollow pledge to work across the aisle with Democrats would go straight out the door if he fulfills his primary campaign promise of repealing “Obamacare” on the first day.
Shifting to the economy, where the candidate’s expertise supposedly lies, is another example of him failing to stand his ground. Romney aggressively pushes for job creation, but famously argued against the auto industry bailout, while the president saved one million jobs and made General Motors once again the world’s top automaker.
In terms of the national debt, Romney also wants it both ways. He thinks it would be just great to reduce it, but refuses under any circumstances to raise taxes to do so. But somehow he will raise revenue by closing unspecified loopholes and ending deductions, which he has yet to name. If that is not enough, Romney will still reduce the national debt and increase the military budget by two trillion dollars despite the Pentagon not asking for the increase.
Mitt Romney clearly thinks the American public is too stupid to realize his contradictory pledges and reconcile that someone who is so averse to making tough decisions simply cannot make a good leader or commander-in-chief.
The most troubling of Romney’s contradictions, however, is that despite wanting voters to “Believe in America,” he dismissed last month’s employment numbers, which showed unemployment under eight percent for the first time since Obama’s presidency and a revision of 86,000 extra jobs created in July and August, as a Labor Department fabrication and a result of fewer people actively seeking employment.
The only real risk Romney has taken is audaciously assuming voters will not realize his incompetence and failed logic.
Ross Fogg is an College junior from Fayetteville, Ga.